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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
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Former Unity Labour Party (ULP) candidate Jomo Thomas has made public one of the warnings he gave to the party leadership when he was an insider:

The ULP, after the departure of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, could become like Venezuela after the March 2013 death of Hugo Chavez.

Thomas quit the ULP last October and on Thursday handed in his resignation as Speaker of the House of Assembly, a position he held since December 2015, two years after becoming a senator.

He told iWitness News on Monday that some party supporters were not happy that in a radio appearance last Friday, he did not endorse the ULP “as a runaway favourite for the next election”.

“I could do that but that does not in any way, carry the party very far. Because the party would still have to canvass and go to the polls, and deliver,” he explained.

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The ULP is seeking a fifth consecutive term in office and Thomas has said that would be impressed if the party can pull it off, noting that fifth terms are not common in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world.

He told iWitness News that Gonsalves has demonstrated vision and a willingness to get things done, adding that the best reflection of this is the Rabacca Bridge and Argyle International Airport.

“That’s a man with some will and some determination and some mental capacity to do things to see things through,” Thomas said.

“But we know that Dr. Gonsalves, in August, will be 74 years old. He’s not going to be around forever. And therefore, if you remove Dr. Gonsalves from the Unity Labour Party, there is going to be a tremendous void.

“In fact, if you remove Dr. Gonsalves from any political process, there’s probably going to be a tremendous void.”

Thomas said that while the ULP has some young people, “they don’t have the experience like Dr. Gonsalves; they don’t have the training and vision.

“The era that he came through, they don’t have that,” he further said.

“So I can’t say now that this party has all of what it takes to carry St. Vincent forward. I remember seeing time and time, again, at the party’s leadership level when I sat in those chairs, that we have to be mindful, we have to be very careful that what happened in Venezuela, after the death of President Chavez does not happen in St. Vincent, after the departure of Prime Minister Gonsalves.”

Thomas noted that in 2006, Chavez won a third six-year term with almost 63% of ballots.

However, in 2013, after his death, Thomas noted, his successor gained only 50.66% — 1.6 percentage points more than his challenger.

“So that man amounted to 10% of that party’s support. And if you look at the way in which things have been done in St. Vincent, where you have to come to ‘me’ for literally everything, I always pointed out that as difficult how the party would work that out. So people could clearly latch on to the prime minister and hope that he sticks around for a long time. But biology don’t work like that. In the end, if you don’t move, biology would compel you to move.”

Thomas, in his analogy, did not mention the 2012 election, when Chavez retained power after 14 years in office, recording 54.5% of the vote.

hugo chavez gonsalves1
In this handout image released by Venezuela’s Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, right, is embraced by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves upon Chavez’s arrival to the Caribbean Island Friday, Feb. 16, 2007. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office,HO)

Thomas, however, is supportive of Bernie Sanders, winning the nomination to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the United States.

Sanders is 78 and Thomas said that he supports the US politician because of his policies, adding that his argument is not an age argument.  

“I am seeing that across the board. I support Sanders. Yes. But having just left the ULP I wouldn’t do public relations for the ULP to say that ‘Oh, I think that it’s the best. 

“I’ve said that all along. I used to say if you want me to do public relations for you, pay me. Pay me money and then I would be the hired gun. I would not say anything bad about you. But I don’t want money so I will continue being Jomo the activist, the newspaper columnist that I want [to be].

“So you can’t pay me to get me to just side with you, but I’m saying if you really want somebody to do public relations, you ought to hire them,” he said.

Thomas said he loves and wants to continue to make a contribution to SVG.

 “I know I will continue to make that contribution. That contribution can come in a multiplicity of forms. And we just, I’ll take each stride at a time and see where that takes me,” he told iWitness News.

8 replies on “ULP after Ralph could be like Venezuela after Chavez died — Jomo”

  1. What utter twaddle is this on the part of Jomo? “The ULP, after the departure of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, could become like Venezuela after the March 2013 death of Hugo Chavez”. This hero worshipping of the man Ralph Gonsalves by Jomo, is just utterly nauseating.

    Here are some facts for us to remember! Ralph Gonsalves has usurped our Vincentian democracy, installed himself and his family as despotic rulers over us, destroyed our economy, thereby our nation having over half the population out of work and sucking salt.

    All because Ralph is a despot and neither Ralph Gonsalves nor his ULP understand economics, added to which, he adds insult to our injury as he foolishly holds fast to an unworkable socialist doctrine that sends him begging the world over for Grant Aid on behalf of our nation. What beggars we are now, just because of him!

    If Jomo is still looking for friends within that Party that he has said that he has since left, in order just to avoid being stoned, surely, he could do much better than this hero worship of the man who have been treating the descendants of African slaves as needy children and he like a willing bag-man.

    The departure of Chavez in Venezuela brought the inevitable poverty to Venezuela for sure. Such Poverty would have come to them regardless of Chavez’s death. Whether Chavez had survived or not, his economic policy like Ralph Gonsalves’s was always flawed. The departure of Ralph Gonsalves can only bring us hope, in addition to economic and political freedom.

    The quicker Ralph Gonsalves goes, the better it would be for all Vincentians who yearns for emancipation and economic development, free from the despotic rule of the Gonsalves family.

  2. Just what is wrong with JOMO? We know that he shares the same foolish ideological leanings as Ralph Gonsalves but is the man really this stupid to assume that Ralph Gonsalves and his extended family is and was good for Vincentians during the past near on twenty years? Comparing Chavez and Ralph gonsalves may make JOMO feel a little good but really, does any sensible ULP member shares JOMO’s ridiculous sentiments were Ralph to depart?

    “The Venezuelan people struggle to cope with the toxic effects of hyperinflation, severe debt and chronic food and medicine shortages, as Venezuela – once the wealthiest country in the region – is mired in the worst economic crisis in its history”. Sure what a disaster for its poor suffering people!

    “Venezuelans today cannot eat. You see people eating from the garbage,” says Professor Margarita Lopez Maya, Central University of Venezuela. So how does a country boasting the world’s largest oil reserves find itself on the brink of economic ruin? It’s the country’s very history that sheds light on what has gone so drastically wrong in Venezuela today”.

    Indeed, like Chavez to Venezuela, Ralph Gonsalves has been nothing but an unmitigated disaster for us in St Vincent & the Grenadines. Moreover, Chavez had Oil money to misuse, SVG on the other hand only had its people and a few industries, all of which under Ralph Gonsalves saw better days before his despotic dictatorship turned us into a nation of beggars. So can his ULP supporters and SVG do better without him? I am sure both can, even if JOMO may think not.

    Swiss Bank socialism is only ever good for tyrants, dictators, despots and autocratic treasury looters and worst it always works to the ordinary peoples grinding poverty. Therefore, it begs the question as to which ULP members this man JOMO is speaking for? Would we still have the cronyism, rampant nepotism and the black squads when Ralph Gonsalves goes?

    Would the suffering descendants of African Slaves get back their democracy when Ralph Gonsalves goes? Would we get a FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL when this despotic dictator Ralph Gonsalves goes? Would most of us Vincentians be very, very happy and glad to see the back of both he and his family’s tyrannical and despotic rule over us? You bet we would! And the sooner they go the better!

  3. Country Before Bullsh*t says:

    Am i missing something here? Jomo was in a position as an insider to effect change and influence the younger candidates of the ULP with his supposed vision, he took the easy road and left now he is sh*t talking every week? Why should anyone care what he has to say now? All that vision should have been taken advantage of on the inside….boy bye….

  4. Elma Gabriel says:

    It would appear that Jomo Thomas is Iwitness , how many have noticed that he has become the most prevalent in SVG these past weeks, or has he bought out I witness news?


    Jomo, you have been feeding at the trough on the Farm for so long. You are full of Bovine Excrement. No human is the end all and be all. Life will go on with or without a mere human.

    1. Of course life will go on, Jomo is pointing out that SVG will become a battlefield against the people just like in Venezuela. People will be shot, tortured and starved if the turn away from the ULP. We know they will be stoned because Julian said so.

      This is quite amazing because Jomo has previously denied there is any such problems in Venezuela. Yet here he is drawing comparisons.

      Thank you Jomo for now admitting the filth that is happening in Venezuela. God help all Vincentians if Gonsalves dies and the worst of the dynasty takes over with a one man rule.

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